Interior Paints & Finishes

Winning Combinations: 9 “Can’t Miss” Color Schemes

Whether your tastes run to neutrals or brights or something in between, you're sure to find a color scheme to your liking among these 9 go-to palettes endorsed by a colorful group of design experts.

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Hot Pink and Turquoise

House Proud by Valorie Hart

”Lately, I’m loving an energetic combination of hot pink, turquoise, and chartreuse,” says designer/author Valorie Hart, offering her own New Orleans office as vivid proof.  When these hues are used with a neutral like greige (grey-beige) or white, “a room can support huge swathes of this strong color and still look sophisticated,” Hart says.

Related: Choosing Interior Paint Color

Grayed and Golden

Country Living Magazine

“I have a big fetish for gray and yellow,” says Asheville, North Carolina, retailer/stylist Susan Chancey, who often brings these colors together by mixing raw wood furnishings with industrial metals and a smoky mirror. For spark, Chancey adds pops of red or blue, like the antique rug in shades of burnt red and indigo that anchors her dining room.

Related: Painting Timesavers

Color Cozy

Living Color by Gary McBournie and William Richards

Echoing the natural compatibility of fire and wood, interior designer/author Gary McBournie likes to warm spaces with luscious chocolate and persimmon. Dark brown lends chicness but not severity, and orange, he says, “always gets a good response.”

White and Gray

Melanie G Photography

Kristie Barnett, aka The Decorologist, likes the simplicity and flexibility of a white-and-gray palette. The combination of white and several—but fewer than 50—shades of gray works wonders, whether an interior is Belgian cottage style or chic and modern.

Bold and Beautiful

Mark Roskams

“I love how large spaces become blocks of color when using only two colors,” says Doug Meyer, designer of just about anything, whose bold interiors reap ample variation from gradients of color. Meyer believes that the key to a beautiful space is sticking to two colors—save for the artwork and accents.

Related: 5 Smart Ways to Fill the House With Your Favorite Color

Aqua, Gray, and White

Laura Wilmerding

Designer Laura Wilmerding enjoys the multiple benefits of an aqua, gray, and white palette. “It’s fresh and clean, the colors don’t jump out at you, and you can mix strong patterns without getting a headache,” says Wilmerding, who used the color scheme throughout her own house. To bring drama to this innately peaceful combination, she adds black and sparkle.

Related:  DIY Wall Stenciling

Seventies Remix

Maine Cottage

Lauren Russell, creative director of the furniture company Maine Cottage, gets a comforting feeling from the nostalgic combination of sprout, mango, and yellow. The palette is subdued, warm, and easy to live with. Russell notes that these colors “just play well in a room and fill it with energy and happiness, plus there is the added bonus of bringing the outdoors in.”

Related:  Dream It, Do It: How to Paint Wood Furniture

Celadon and Silver

Kerry Fidler Design

Kerry Fidler constantly looks to nature for color guidance. He particularly likes the way that the muted shades of the sea and shore at dawn and dusk blanket a home in effortless, elegant calm. Celadon reminds him of beach glass, and silvery surfaces sparkle like dew. To round out the palette and provide contrast, Fidler introduces darker neutrals and rustic accents.

Related:  5 Common Painting Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

Black and White and…

Susan Gilmore

Black and white is a classic, timeless color combination that grounds any interior space,” say admirers Jen Ziemer and Andrea Dixon of Fiddlehead Design Group in Minneapolis. While this versatile, high-contrast foundation can take on any accent color, Ziemer and Dixon favor intense and highly saturated pops of color, such as gender-neutral apple green.

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